Manufactured Spending

Here’s Why I’m Still Buying MasterCard Gift Cards Online

The most common reader question I’ve been getting lately is whether I’m still buying gift cards after giftcards.com stopped offering cash back on Visa gift cards. After all, the point of buying them was to earn cash back through Yazing in order to off-set the gift card and shipping fees. After cash back portals stopped offering rewards on Visa gift card purchases, a lot of people gave up on giftcards.com as a gift card source. Not me. I’m still regularly buying MasterCard Gift Cards, since Yazing continues to offer 1.5% cash back on those purchases. If 1.5% cash back doesn’t sound like much, you’re clearly not buying gift cards in large amounts…

MasterCard Gift Cards: The Pros

Right now, giftcards.com allows up to $2,500 worth of Visa gift cards per purchase (including fees). You can place up to two orders per day. I usually buy $2450 (four gift cards for $500 and one for $45). With fees and shipping, the total comes to $2492.20. My out of pocket cost for earning a minimum of $2492 miles is $42.20. Meanwhile, I earn $37.27 cash back from Yazing. That brings my total out of pocket cost to $4.93. Considering buying the same amount of gift cards at a mall will set me back around $20, this is a real bargain.

MasterCard Gift Cards: The Cons

The only negative side to buying MasterCard gift cards instead of Visa is that they’re trickier to liquidate. At Walmart, you can only use MasterCard gift cards on the last swipe. I guess you could buy gift cards $1,000 at a time in order to maximize the number of MasterCards you can liquidate, but most of us are skating on thin ice with the Walmart cashiers. There’s no need to make their jobs more difficult, so I always buy mine in $2,000 transactions. I still save money on liquidation fees and diversify my spending, so it’s all good.

How Much Do You Save?

How much am I saving, exactly? Churning $2,000 worth of Visa gift cards would normally cost $17.56. Working a MasterCard gift card into each transaction brings the cost down to around $14.60. While $3 may not seem like much, on a typical Walmart run that’s a $15 saving. Since I’m now bringing at least two helpers along, that amount is tripled to $45. If I pull of weekly Walmart trips, my savings increase to $180…or roughly $2,160 per year. It definitely pays off to continue buying MasterCard gift cards now that cash back is no longer offered on Visa gift cards. 

As usual, you should be aware of the risks associated with manufactured spending and always be prepared in case of a shut down

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23 Comments

  1. My wife and I were buying Visa gift cards from giftcardmall.com.
    We were buying 2450 but were shut down 30 days later. We were never given a reason and calls to corporate
    didn’t change the shutdown.
    What did we do wrong?
    Are we shutdown forever or is another option?

    • No idea – I essentially got banned from buying GCM cards about five years ago. No explanation and I still can’t get orders processed. I have heard from a few users that they tried again after several years and were able to get their orders through. Worth a try IMO, but I wouldn’t depend on it.

  2. I should also include the same thing happened with giftcards.com.

  3. You can use more than 1 MCGC at WM, not just the last swipe.

    Unless you’re ‘simplifying’ it for others?

    • A reader shared the same thing with me on FB. That hasn’t been my experience – she explained a slightly more convoluted way of getting the cards through. I’ll give it a try and report back if it works.

  4. I’m still purchasing visa giftcards from giftcardmall getting 1% back, by using a different cashback portal I normally purchase 7000 worth of cards plus 83.3 in fees and 10.95 for shipping for a grand total of 7094.25.
    Since I eventually get 1% back (70 dollars) the cost for 14 cards is 24.25 or 1.73 per card.

    • Jacob Calm

      Joe, are you will to “divulge” which other cashback portal you use for this? And so I am clear, giftcardmall really lets you purchase $7K per transaction?

      • Hello Jacob-
        Yes, giftcardmall allows me to purchase 7000 or 8000 in one transaction, I just ordered 16, 500 visa cards from them today, 8000 plus fees; the cashback portal is not a secret, it is befrugal; the reviews on them are mix but they have been paying me just fine till now

    • GCM? Cannot for the life of me get any orders processed. I suspect I may have gotten banned a few years ago.

  5. Speaking of “skating on thin ice,” I continue to marvel at your apparent ability to escape the amex “rat teams”…… In your last post, you so very boldly proclaimed to the world that you had aimed to spend over 100k for gift cards this month on a single card. (the SPG Amex biz card) You then noted you were going to be a bit more modest, “rounding” it out to 50k instead. (for one month?)

    50/100k — per month. Just wow. How do you do that? How can you explain that the Amex “RAT teams” apparently haven’t bothered you and won’t notice? Do you think the widespread reports of Amex RAT team shut-downs were all a myth? Or that they only focus on spending to meet initial promotional targets? Do you counsel others to not worry and hit the SPG as hard too in this last week? Inquiring minds wanna know. 🙂

    • 336creative

      So far, RAT only applies to MR earning cards, not co-branded cards.

    • To be fair, I’ve been pretty careful about MS’ing with Amex until recently. I managed $30k on two cards (mine and my dad’s). Realistically, I don’t think I’ll get to $50k by month’s end, but I’ll try!

      No idea if the RAT team shut-downs were a myth, but I can definitely imagine that people who overdid it (and there were a few folks who were baffled by my post about why I don’t MS with the SPG card). So I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks overdid it and got shut down. Meeting minimum spend with MS has gotten Amex cardholders shut down, but so has signing up with targeted links.

  6. Mike Patel

    What do you mean by saying that you use mastercard on the last swipe?? What do you use on the 1st 3 swipes??? Do you buy visa and mastercard gift cards??? Please clarify and explain the entire process..
    Thanks in advance
    Mike

  7. Be careful, the end is very near. My WMs that have been MS friendly for years just changed to not accepting GCs – registers are now hard coded. Don’t be stuck with $15K in GCs.

  8. Still very much YMMV but in general, very true.

  9. The onevanilla GC that are hard coded to accept only $50 at Walmart, is the limit at the Walmart terminal or at the backend from moneygram?

    If I went to another store with moneygram mo would I be able to use the onevanilla gc?

  10. Mike@MS4profit

    Where could you get cash back on VGC? I’ve been doing this for profit for 10 + yrs and never figured out how to get cash back, unless you are talking about it in a round about way, in which case there are a few ways to do that.

  11. JeffeVerde

    I also went on an SPG spree this past month, to maximize points before the Marriott conversion. I moved my statement date to the 30th, and managed to get 54k of MS + RS done. I hope you remembered to take advantage of the 35% bonus on purchased SPG points this past month.

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